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Fixing the dreaded knee collapse to prevent ACL injuries

Earlier this month, we posted on our Facebook page an article highlighting the disturbing trend of ACL injuries among NFL players. The author of that article brought up some good points regarding body mechanics and training. This information is not only important for high level athletes, but for younger athletes as well. What most people don’t realize is up to 70% of ACL injuries are non-contact injuries.1 This means the ACL tears without a helmet or other player crashing into the athlete’s knee.

As Fall sports get going, its good to do a quick check on your young athlete to see if they are at risk for an ACL injury. What are you looking for? It’s something we refer to as knee collapse. Parents, coaches or friends can do this using a cell phone. Take a video of the athlete jumping up as high as they can. Video their whole body as they jump a few times. If you see the knees collapse more than ½ way in while they are preparing to jump or landing, then this is a concern.1 Below is a good example of poor technique from a NFL quarterback who has suffered 2 ACL tears:

An example of poor biodynamics by an NFL player who has suffered two ACL tears.

Image courtest of sideout.org

Here is an example of good technique:

An example of proper knee placement before, during, and after jumping.

Image courtesy of stopsportsinjuries.org

The difference in these two images is the knees. Do you see how in the first image, the knees are collapsing to the inside? In the second image, the knees stay aligned both at takeoff and landing.

So, shoot a cell phone video of your athlete jumping and look at their technique. Do you see the knees collapsing to the inside? If so, then physical therapy can help train your athlete to improve their jumping technique and reduce their chances of a serious knee injury. Let’s talk!

1. ACL Tears Don’t Have to Happen. Bleach Report. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2555624-preseason-acl-injures-can-be-drastically-reduced-heres-how. Accessed September 2, 2015.

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